November 10th, 2008
11:32 AM ET
Seems like Hollywood can put out anything family oriented and get a huge return.
"Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa" had a phenomenal opening weekend.
“Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa” was the No. 1 movie at the weekend box office last weekend. The sequel to 2005’s “Madagascar” made $63.5 million, outdoing its predecessor by almost $20 million, on a regular weekend in early November - not a holiday weekend when kids are out of school, like the first “Madagascar.” And the film did so with middling reviews (though, it should be noted, slightly better reviews than the first film got - the sequel earned 60 percent good reviews on RottenTomatoes.com, up from 55 percent for “Madagascar”).
Family films are regular cash cows for Hollywood - even if they’re mediocre. “Kung Fu Panda” topped the benchmark of $200 million; “Beverly Hills Chihuahua,” which received some scathing reviews, was the top film in the country for two weeks.
Can’t the movies do better? We want to know what you think. Comment below or click on iReport and submit an entry.
Seems to me that great family films are the exception, not the rule - but they don’t have to be. Pixar takes great care with its releases, such as this year’s “Wall-E”; the “Ice Age” films have some of the manic invention of old Warner Bros. cartoons. And yet the majority of family films are glorified TV specials, lacking wit and warmth. Kids are better served watching reruns of “SpongeBob SquarePants.”
OK, so Pixar- or Disney-level quality isn’t everything when it comes to family films. All a parent with an energetic 6-year-old wants is something entertaining for 90 minutes, a chance for a little family time. Still, it doesn’t seem to be asking too much to want better scripts and fewer cheap pop-culture (or poop culture) jokes. (Come to think of it, it would be nice if that could be true for all films.)
So send in your thoughts, comments or complaints. We’ll revisit the topic Thursday with some of the best responses.
- Todd Leopold, CNN.com Entertainment Producer
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